Spain given €1.6 billion in damages for Prestige oil tanker disaster

The Prestige oil tanker The Prestige oil tanker Michael George Thomas Hangliter Jr/Facebook

SPAIN has been awarded €1.6 billion compensation over the 2002 Prestige oil tanker spill, widely regarded as one of worst environmental disasters to happen in Europe.

The tanker ran into trouble in November 2002 during rough seas. The Spanish government at the time ordered the ship out to sea instead of bringing it into port as ordered by the emergency plan.

It then split in two and sank off the coast of Galicia six days later.

More than 60,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea and polluted nearly 3000 kilometres of coastline in Spain, France and Portugal.

The disaster had dire consequences for the local environment, having a severe impact on wildlife and the region's fishing industry. Tens of thousands of volunteers took part in an emergency clean-up operation which lasted for months.

A court in the city of A Coruña has said the regional authorities in Galicia should be awarded €1.8 million in damages and that France should also be granted €61 million.

British insurers The London P&I Club and the Prestige’s Greek captain Apostolos Mangouras were ordered to pay €850 million between them, while the rest must be paid by Mare Shipping Inc., who owned the ship, and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds.

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